How many Grand National winners have been trained in Scotland?
In short, since the first official running of the Grand National, in 1839, just two winners have been trained in Scotland. The first of them was Rubstic, owned by former Rugby Union international John Douglas, trained by John Leadbetter, near Denholm in the Scottish Borders, and ridden by Maurice Barnes. Sent off at 25/1, the 10-year-old was involved in a ding-dong battle with his nearest pursuers, Zongalero and Rough And Tumble, before drawing away close home to win by 1½ lengths.
Unfortunately, his historical victory was marred by the death of Alverton, ridden by Jonjo O’Neill, who was attempting to become the first horse since Golden Miller, in 1934, to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season. The 6/1 favourite was going well at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit, but breasted the fence, fell on his head, broke his neck and was killed instantly.
The second Scottish-trained winner of the Grand National was One For Arthur in 2017. Owned by Belinda McClung and Deborah Thomson, collectively known as ‘Two Golf Widows’, trained by Lucinda Russell, near Kinross in the Scottish Lowlands, and ridden by Derek Fox, One For Arthur arrived at Aintree at the top of his game. He had won twice and finished a staying on third in the Becher Chase, over the National fences, on his last three starts and, consequently, was sent off fifth favourite, at 14/1, for the National itself. Having travelled and jumped well, he took the lead between the final two fences and stayed on well to beat Cause Of Causes by 4½ lengths.